There ought to be a law against using the word “media” as a singular
I read somewhere the other day that the use of the word “media” as a singular has become so widespread that it’s now considered grammatically acceptable.
Well, it’s not acceptable to me. It’s a Latin word, and it’s plural.
As I’ve argued here on previous occasions, using “media” as a singular (“the media is….”) only invites the notion that the media are a monolith. They’re not. There are all kinds of media, many of which differ from one another in numerous respects.
And yet, even journalists whom I otherwise respect are often heard to use “media” as a singular. Their bosses should order them to be more careful about that.
Let’s consider, for example, the widespread complaint among political conservatives that the mainstream media are — or “is,” if you insist — liberal. That allegation is preposterous on its face. Fox News is part of the mainstream media. It’s the most popular of the three cable news outlets — and it’s decidedly not liberal. The same can be said of the Wall Street Journal, the most widely-read daily newspaper in America. The same can also be said of talk-radio on the whole, which generally leans far right.
Yes, I understand that certain Latin plurals have become singulars through popular usage. The word “data” comes to mind.
But “media” as a singular only feeds the unfortunate misimpression that the media are all alike, especially in terms of political slant. They’re not.